What is an ATAR and how is the ATAR calculated using VCE scaling?

Get the lowdown on how your ATAR is calculated based on VCE scaled study scores. Use our study score calculator to estimate your raw and scaled scores then push them to our ATAR calculator to estimate your rank.

What is an ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) – previously known as ENTER – is a ranking of Year 12 results that measures your overall academic achievement compared with all other final year students in Australia (excluding Queensland). The ATAR is not a score out of 100 – it is a rank. The ATAR enables tertiary institutions to compare the overall achievements of all students who have completed Year 12.

In Victoria, ATARs are calculated by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) when you complete the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). VTAC uses the VCE results issued by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to calculate ATAR scores. You need to have completed at least four VCE studies in a recognised combination to have your ATAR calculated.

When you complete VCE, VTAC notifies you of your ATAR. If you apply for tertiary courses, VTAC forwards your ranking and applications to tertiary institutions. In addition to other course requirements, the ATAR can determine your eligibility for tertiary courses. Each tertiary institution sets the ATAR required for its courses, as well as other course entry requirements.

Man sitting on couch using ATAR calculator on laptop whilst patting dog.

What is a study score?

A study score is a ranking (not actually a score) that shows how well you performed in a study (subject) at unit 3 and 4 level, compared to everyone else in Victoria who took that study. Study scores calculated by the VCAA will be used by VTAC to calculate the ATAR.

The maximum study score is 50. Each year, and for every study, the mean study score is set at 30. For studies with large enrolments (1000 or more), a score of between 23 and 37 indicates that you are in the middle range of students and a score of 38 or more shows that you are in the top 15%.

Study scores are scaled up or down by VTAC according to the performance of students in a study in a particular year – which means scores change each year, making ATARs difficult to predict.

How is the ATAR calculated?

The ATAR is calculated by VTAC from an aggregate, based on up to six VCE scaled study scores. It is produced by adding together:

  • your highest scaled study score in one of the English studies (English, English Language, English as an Additional Language (EAL) or Literature)
  • your highest scaled study scores for three additional permissible studies, and
  • 10% of the scaled study scores for the fifth and sixth permissible studies.

Students are then ranked in order of their aggregate and a percentage rank is assigned to distribute students as evenly as possible over a 100-point scale.

Finally, the percentage rank is converted to an ATAR. The ATAR is an estimate of the percentage of the population that you outperformed. So if you receive an ATAR of 60, it means you performed better than 60% of students that year.

The ATAR is a number from 0 and 99.95 in intervals of 0.05. The highest rank is 99.95, the next highest 99.90, and so on. The lowest automatically reported rank is 30.00, with ranks below 30.00 being reported as ‘less than 30’.

Use our study score calculator to estimate your raw and scaled scores then push them to our ATAR calculator to estimate your rank.

About to finish year 12 and planning your university preferences? Find courses by ATAR now.